Tuesday, November 23rd, 2021


Animate for Life

It seems like anime is bigger than ever as Japanese digital artists code new stories for an ever-growing international audience. But the king of Japanese animation, with his old school hand-drawing tradition, isn't quite done yet. "Buta-ya was meant to be a retirement office, where Miyazaki could pursue personal projects. He built it in 1998, after announcing that he would make no more feature films, then returned to Studio Ghibli the next year with the story idea that would become Spirited Away, the highest-grossing movie in Japanese history ... Spirited Away won the 2002 Academy Award for best animated feature, the only film from outside the West to ever do so. In 2013, he said again that he was done with film, and that time, having directed 11 features in 34 years, he was taken seriously: Studio Ghibli shut down its production department." But lucky for us, at the age of 80, the man and his pencils are being spirited back for one more feature film. NYT T-Magazine (Gift article): Hayao Miyazaki Prepares to Cast One Last Spell.


Dithering Heights

"He is the opposite of imposing. Five-nine, a hundred and fifty-five pounds, with a scruffy beard and a boyish face. He giggles a lot and has none of the swagger of an alpha athlete. His default manner is gentle, slightly dithery, how-can-I-help. He looks very fit, but that's not unusual in this part of Colorado, and the fact that his fingers are built with some type of steel alloy is not evident at a glance. The ditheriness is like the little laugh—it acts as a pleasing distraction from the real Tommy, who is intensely observant and has the ability to focus ferociously. Both are useful traits for rock climbing at your limits." One of the world's great non-fiction writers on one of the world's great climbers. William Finnegan in The New Yorker: What It Takes to Climb the World's Most Forbidding Cliffs.


Immigrate Expectations

Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. Actually, give me everyone you've got, because I've got jobs to fill. NYT (Gift Article): Contending with the Pandemic, Wealthy Nations Wage Global Battle for Migrants. "With fast-track visas and promises of permanent residency, many of the wealthy nations that drive the global economy are sending a message to skilled immigrants all over the world: Help wanted. Now." (The first open job is for someone to take down all those Keep Out signs...)


Trial and AR

"There is a paradox of fragility here, in which a moment of fear—perhaps one imbuing the deceased with supernatural strength—is invoked to justify homicide, and the dead who would be alive but for this moment of terror subsequently become a symbol of the frightened man's valor. At a certain point the logic of this sort of "self-defense" becomes indistinguishable from a custom that simply allows certain people to get away with murder. This is the legal regime that a powerful minority of gun-rights advocates have built—one in which Americans are encouraged to settle their differences with lethal force, preferably leaving as few witnesses capable of testimony as possible." Adam Serwer in The Altantic: Of Course Kyle Rittenhouse Was Acquitted. "It is one thing to argue that the jury reached a reasonable verdict based on the law, and another entirely to celebrate Rittenhouse's actions." (The verdict isn't the story. The craven use of that verdict to stir hate, fear, and division is the story. And it was the story long before Kyle strapped on his AR-15 style firearm.)


OK Cupid

"Rollins, the chief operating officer of a small tech company that is fully remote, moved to Tulsa in November 2020. Though she misses aspects of San Francisco, she doesn't regret the move. She even closed last week on her very own house." 66 former Bay Area residents were paid to move to Tulsa. Here's how one is finding it.


Three Day Binds

"In practice, before receiving the pills, patients may need to jump through a series of hoops that often prevent Americans from accessing care: Recognizing their symptoms, taking a test, getting a prescription from a clinician, and filling the prescription at a pharmacy." Stat News: Covid antivirals could be pandemic game-changers. But Americans might struggle to access them. You need to get started within three days of showing symptoms. (Three days is the average hold-time at most doctor's offices.)

+ 8 Things To Know About The Antiviral Pills For COVID.


Greasing the Bids

AP: Fighting gas prices, US to release 50 million barrels of oil. "The actions by the U.S. and others also risk counter moves by Gulf nations, especially Saudi Arabia, and by Russia. Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries have made clear they intend to control supply to keep prices high for the time being." (It would be nice to get past the climate change ramifications of oil. And the politics of oil.)


Getting Their Rocks Off

"Late this evening, NASA is launching a spacecraft the size of a refrigerator, sending it on a crash course with an asteroid in 2022 — and it's all on purpose. This intentional self-destruction will tell us if slamming a spacecraft into an asteroid is enough to save Earth in the future if a massive space rock is headed our way." (Saving the Earth "in the future" is just the kind of optimism we need this holiday season...)


Marquis de Sad!

From WaPo: "The Republican National Committee is paying some personal legal bills for former president Donald Trump, spending party funds to pay a lawyer representing Trump in investigations into his financial practices in New York." (This is a classic sadomasochistic relationship. He keeps humiliating them and they keep coming back to pay for the privilege.)


Bottom of the News

"Limit discourse to mild weather. Unless it's unseasonably mild weather, which is a hot button issue — or a cold button issue, depending on the relative. Also, be aware that Fox just launched Fox Weather. So don't talk about the weather." Here's my list of Topics to Avoid This Thanksgiving.

+ "'Funeral directors, we're not the most popular kids at the party,' Glenda Stansbury, a licensed funeral director and embalmer in Oklahoma, told me, with her signature raspy laugh. But in the riverside city, with its total lack of COVID restrictions, the pandemic's last responders could finally let loose." Inside the Funeral Industry's 2021 National Convention.

+ There's something wrong with an awards show where one person gets 11 nominations, and a bunch of others get 8. But if you care, here are this year's Grammy noms.